Monday, August 8, 2011

H. Frederick Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director

Our debt to science

Last Tuesday saw an end to the months-long political drama over raising the US national debt ceiling, when President Obama signed a bipartisan bill that no one seemed to like. When our lawmakers return to Washington next month after their summer break, the predominant issues will still center on the federal budget and policies that influence the lingering economic malaise of the US economy. The all-too-familiar question of the ongoing debate will resurface: Beyond cutting expenditures, how do we deal with the country's deficit without further hindering its already-slow recovery from the recession? Many economists agree that policies must focus on stimulating economic growth. The debate comprises many factors, including tax cuts, tax reform, tax incentives, targeted incentives for business, cost control of entitlement programs, military budget cuts, and continued investments in research and education.

Over the last 60 years, through a long history of both Democratic and Republican administrations, Congress's commitment to fund scientific research has enjoyed strong bipartisan support. Lawmakers have generally agreed that there is a strong connection between research and innovation, and that investments in science ultimately lead to new products and new jobs. Will this bipartisan support continue in the FY 2012 budget bills and the next round of federal debt negotiations that begin next month? The strong emphasis on federal budget cutting will more than likely mean little or no growth or even declines in science budgets over the next few years. Such prospects are not good news for young researchers who are just starting to engage in the competitive grant system within our federal science agencies, nor for the program administrators who must balance the books under increasing constraints. But belt-tightening can force leaders to define priorities, increase competition, and weed out expenditures whose primary virtue is longevity.

The science community needs to demonstrate its willingness to prioritize for targeted growth as the nation works to resolve its budget problems—hopefully in a more rational fashion than we just witnessed earlier this month. At the same time, as members of the science community, we need to redouble our efforts to communicate the demonstrated value of science in stimulating our economy.

Publishing Matters

iPeerReview provides mobile access to submitted papers

Whether in the office, in the library, or in Starbucks sipping coffee, authors and reviewers can now check the status of their AIP journal articles with our new iPeerReview app. The app lets researchers use their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to access information about papers they have submitted to AIP's Peer X-Press online submission and review site.

Once logged in, users can access a list of all active and completed papers, view the status history of a paper, view and save a paper in PDF format, email a paper, and link to a paper on AIP's Scitation platform (if the paper is in production) or on Peer X-Press (if it is under review).

When users access iPeerReview, they can either log in or access papers that they have previously saved to their device. The app will determine whether they are an author, a reviewer, or both. In the event that they are both an author and a reviewer, iPeerReview will allow them to access both sets of papers under separate tabs.

To download iPeerReview, simply visit the iTunes App Store.
For more information, go to AIP Labs.

Physics Resources Center Matters

Career Network coordinates industry luncheon at ACP

On June 2 Physics Today Career Network (PTCN) hosted a networking lunch for fellow online employment professionals from the nonprofit sector. Representatives from the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Psychological Association, and the Biomedical Engineering Society joined PTCN staff and onsite PTCN partners AAPM, AAPT, APS, and the Society of Physics Students. They discussed social media, marketing plans, industry legal concerns and trends, and job board promotion at society events. Organized by PTCN manager Bonnie Feldman, the meeting proved to be a valuable opportunity for nonprofit recruitment industry employees to share ideas. PTCN plans to continue regular communication with their counterparts.

Career Network mentioned as resource in the Seattle Times

"If science is a growing field, where are the jobs?" read this headline in the "Recruiter's Inbox" section of the Seattle Times. "Recruiter's Inbox" is a Q&A forum by Seattle-based employment expert Kristen Fife, whose response to an inquiry about career opportunities in science included mention of AIP Career Network's online job board, Physics Today Jobs. The online version of Fife's response included links to both the site's homepage and worthwhile career resource material for job-seeking scientists.

Around AIP

AIP ranks high in business excellence and flexibility

The AIP Publishing Center was selected as an Honorable Mention recipient of the 2011 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility on Long Island. As an honoree, the AIP has distinguished itself as a leading employer of choice that is successfully using flexibility as part of an effective workplace strategy to achieve business goals and help employees meet their responsibilities on and off the job.

The two-step selection process involves an evaluation of employers' programs and practices, and a confidential employee survey. As an Honorable Mention recipient, AIP ranks in the top 20% of employers nationally in terms of its programs, policies, and culture for creating an effective and flexible workplace. Kudos to the Human Resources staff based at the Publishing Center for driving the application process and to the Melville staff members who provided supporting feedback and earned AIP the distinction.

What's Happening This Week

Through Friday, August 12

  • Sign-up for the Publishing Center blood drive, taking place on August 17. (Melville, NY)
  • Publishing Center school supply drive (Melville, NY)

Through Monday, August 29

  • ACP school supply drive (College Park, MD)

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For past issues of this newsletter, visit the AIP Matters archives.